Fitness clubs are re-opening after the lockdown. As soon as June 23, healthy lifestyle fans will be able to use exercise machines, swimming pools and attend group workouts to build strength, flexibility and stamina.
However, life is not the same after the pandemic. The same goes for physical fitness. The Federal Service for Consumer Rights Protection has published its official guidelines for gyms.
For example, the number of visitors allowed must be one person per 4 sq m of the gym or 5 sq m of the pool water surface. Disinfection rules for gyms, saunas and pool water will be tougher. The agency suggests monitoring of staff members’ and visitors’ health stricter and lowering the traffic.
X-Fit Fitness Director in Russia Irina Troska comments that the agency’s guidelines are realistic and the chain’s fitness clubs in Kazan are already open. Although visitors will have to make appointments from now on, which may be an unpleasant surprise.
“Workout appointments are now mandatory, be it a group class or a swimming session. This measure will allow us to re-distribute workload between various sections of a club, prevent crowds and encourage social distancing. It should be considered that more frequent cleaning and disinfection of rooms and fitness equipment also requires time. Club areas will be cleaned according to a schedule. While one area is being cleaned, we must prevent other rooms from getting crowded. Therefore, appointments and bookings are necessary. We understand that not all of our customers will accept such inconvenience but for now, we have to insist on this and urge our clients to be patient,” Irina says.
She also added that, as the Association of Fitness Industry Operators estimates, up to 70% of fitness clubs will not re-open after the lockdown.
“I sincerely hope that in reality, this figure will be lower but right now the prospects are depressing if not critical for some. Even with the re-opening date set, there are still plenty of unresolved issues, including the risk of a higher membership cancellation rate due to the unstable economic situation, the need to compensate the time our customers lost because of self-isolation (memberships were frozen) and other problems. So I would not rule out many bankruptcies. Right now, we do not have a clear idea of how busy our clubs will be, whether people will get back to working out immediately or wait a little more. It is possible that some customers will be turned away because they will have to plan ahead and make appointments. We will have to get answers to these questions on the go. What is absolutely clear is that the recovery will take long.”